The panel dates back to 1477 and recalls the style of the master Niccolò di Liberatore, called L’Alunno. The painter of the panel, Ludovico Urbani (1460-1493 ca.), active in the Marche region, presumably created this as a compartment of a predella. The activities in the city of its origin, and the style of the two brothers, Iacopo and Lorenzo Salimbeni, influenced the artist’s style. This artwork represents the charm of the first Florentine Renaissance and the Venetian Carlo Crivelli, who was permanently in the Marche region in 1468. Federico Zeri hypothesized that the Adoration of the Magi is part of a triptych. It was possibly part of the Madonna with the Child Enthroned and Angels (Avignon, Musée du Petit Palais) and the two panels with Saint Francis and Saint Louis of Toulouse (Recanati, Diocesan Museum).
Painting and Wood Lab: Rossana Giardina (pictorial),
Massimo Alesi, and Marco De Pillis (support renovation).

Restoration Update

The panel was subject to an anoxic treatment and an accurate scientific analysis. The designs for the images in high resolution asserted the effective conservation state and executed technique. The infrared reflectography at 1900 nm assisted the identification of the preparatory drawing, which demonstrated that during the pictorial drafting, there were no evident volumetric shifts. The artist faithfully respected the design. Only small variations can be perceived in some details, like in the creation of the little wall in the landscape behind the architecture and the white horse’s tail. The execution of the first cleaning tests presented the necessity for additional effective analysis. The tests also targeted the recognition of the the used pigments, which allowed an investigation of the deepest layers of the artwork. There were effective analyses in XRF fluorescence and Raman, which obtained a map of every single chemical element present in the different backgrounds. At the end of the investigations, the restorers discussed the obtained data and they could complete the cleaning phase with greater clarity. They recovered the tonal harmony of the pictorial layering and the many details concealed by previous repaintings and/or plasterings. The intervention will allow further and comparative studies with other works by the same author to define with greater certainty its affiliation.

Reflectography at 1900 nm – preparatory designs

Restoration Update

The applied methodology included several stages, even a delicate restoration of the wooden support:

  • Pre-Consolidation with infiltration
  • Wood Renovation: removal of the attachment system, insertion of wedges in all cracks
  • Removal of the drops of wax on the pictorial surface
  • Cleaning of the chromatic surface for the removal of the altered varnish and previous retouches, with suitable solvents, tested with cognitive microassays
  • Consolidation of the pigment with the use of Japanese paper and Alga Funori
  • Revision of the previous grouts
  • Grouting of the gaps with rabbit skin glue gesso
  • Color reintegration of the gaps with Gamblin restoration paint and/or
  • Winsor and Newton watercolors
  • Final protective coating

The intervention was documented with an accurate photographic campaign. At the end of the intervention, the work was placed in a Clima-Frame (Propadyn Museart), a dynamic, bio-compatible, moisture stabilizer, into a prepared compartment to safe-guard the artwork. The Clima-Frame compensates for changes in humidity and to ensure ideal conditions are met in every exhibition environment.

Left to right: Renovation of the support, Removal of the drops of wax, Removal of the grout

Left to right: Cleaning process, Cleaning test, Front of the Clima-Change, Propadyn Museart –  dymamic humidity stabilizer

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